Simon Rodilla, born in Italy and long-time inhabitant of Watts, had it in his mind to do something big. He became a "builder of defiant towers", gathering up discarded materials over the years and reassembling them slowly into structures looming high above his neighbors' homes.
Ken Smith comments: This documentary has "pretentious UCLA filmmaker" stamped all over it, from the pompous narration to the artsy camera angles to the annoying flute/piano/viola score. "The last place on Earth to search for the extraordinary." The story of Simon Rodia, tilesetter. "With the debris of a machine-ridden civilization he gave color and texture and vitality to the Towers as they arose out of his inner necessity." lots of CUs of Simon's gnarled hands; cements busted ceramic plates and mugs and tiles all over the metal framework of his 100+ foot towers; typical folk art junk: bottles, teapots; "he had an urgent need for expression"
"Dis-a was all my own idea" "All man's slow, tormented, enduring steps toward some light undefined -- may be here." "I had it in my mind to do something big and I did."
[This film is about the Watts Towers in south central Los Angeles, California]
Photographs of ancestors
Piles of bottles and tiles
Man climbing tower structures
Suburban street with towers rising above the fences and rooftops
Close-up of man's face, shot from beneath
Close-up shots of the glass and broken tiles used to construct the towers
Subject: A man at work
Subject: I thought Watts was common knowledge...
A great mini-mentary about the towers. Funny how every thinks the 50's were a time of cultural stagnation in America, when they were actually very lively. Sure he started this in the 20's, but it was finished and celebrated in the 50's. Cool part of Americana.
Subject: The Towers
Subject: Does not star anyone named Frodo
Subject: The story of the Watts Towers
Anyone who has seen the towers and wondered about their story will enjoy this film.